Photography by Oda Eide
This month we celebrate inspirational woman Caroline Breteau. Not only has she carved a highly successful carrier in fashion thanks to her unique creative flair and imagination, she has also spent the past two years co-directing The Breteau Foundation, a charity whose mission is to help educate disadvantaged children living in poverty around the world.
Always incredibly calm and caring, Caroline's impeccable temperament always sees her putting others needs first. She is the not only the most dependable and generous of friends, but also cannot be rivalled at having fun and throwing THE party of a lifetime!
We couldn't be more proud to have her as a Sophie Lis Girl and are lucky enough to take a peak into her beautifully curated private world and discover just how this remarkable lady makes it all work.
1.) Can you give me a brief summary of your career to date and anything outside of this which has been of significant influence in your life?
I am a creative director and brand consultant that specialises in luxury fashion. For the last few years I have also been co-director of the Breteau Foundation, an education foundation that focuses on primary school children in disadvantaged areas across the globe.
Both careers have meant a lot of travelling which I love. Within the fashion world I travelled a lot for photoshoots but I also moved for jobs; to Mumbai to assist with the launch of Vogue India, to London for British Vogue, to Munich for My Theresa and to Paris to L'Officiel.
With the Breteau Foundation, which was set up only five years ago by my husband Sebastien, we have already had 15,000 children go through our programs and have over 60 schools dispersed throughout Columbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar and most recently within the displaced settlement communities in Lebanon. We focus on providing tablets full of curated digital content that are both tailored to the local curriculum and translated into local languages.
I love having the opportunity to travel to these totally remote off the grid places and play with the kids and meet people I would never normally get the chance to meet. Most recently I went to visit schools we helped set up in Syrian refugee settlements in Lebanon. I met the most incredible children and teachers, all of whom have harrowing stories but are so brave and so hungry to get back to school and rebuild their lives.
2.) Has it always been clear that you were destined for a career in fashion and design?
I grew up in the Somerset countryside and was a total tomboy, constantly falling out of trees and off horses - I don't think I ever thought about what I looked like! However, I was always very creative and would spend hours tracing the silhouettes in my grandmother's vintage Vogues, making dresses for my teddies or writing stories. London, Paris and the fashion, art worlds seemed like the most distant and unattainably glamorous of places.
3.) How would you describe your style and how does it change from city to city and work to leisure?
Day to day I am pretty laid back, favouring jeans, shirts and a well cut blazer. I love good tailoring and am quite neutral with my colour palette, especially in Paris where I pretty much only wear black.
4.) You travel a lot. What are your absolute essential, can't live without pieces which go everywhere with you?
I love my Rick Owens black soft leather jacket, it goes with absolutely everything and it is just so comfortable! For travelling I love t-shirts from James Pearse, jumpers from Vince, pyjamas and eye masks from Olivia Von Halle and a new pair of white converse.
A selection of Caroline's favourite shoes including her bespoke, white Tom Ford wedding shoes, red Aquazzura's, black Jimmy Choo's and powder blue Gianvito Rossi heals. Also pictured are her go-to bags including black Chanel Boy bag, red fur evening bag by Elie Saab and silver and black clutch by Dries Van Noten.
5.) You have the most beautiful daughter Maia. Do you find yourself dressing differently after becoming a mother?
It didn't change too much as I tend to glam up after she has gone to bed, however Im sure I wear fewer skirts in the daytime now as I am constantly rolling around on the floor playing with her!
Caroline wears Fallen Star hoop earrings by Sophie Lis and blue cross back dress by Reformation.
6.) How do you find yourself shopping with so much travelling?
I definitely prefer shopping online for the ease and the choice, Matches.com and Net-a-Porter are great. I also love the luxury clothes rental service Panoply City when I am in Paris, such a clever way to be environmentally friendly and save precious pennies and wardrobe space.
Carpet and ceiling light both by Damien Langlois-Meurinne, vintage palm tree lights, coffee table by Ado Charles and shoes by Gianvito Rossi.
7.) You and your husband have been known to throw some pretty wild and wonderful parties. How do you dream up the concepts and what would you say was the key to their sucess?
We love good friends, good music and good food... (and wine!), so from there the base is always going to be great. We are also extremely lucky to be surrounded by so many enthusiastic dancers and talented creative people so it isn't hard to get the crowd on the floor or to find out new and interesting things to throw into the mix.
For me a good party should be seamless, with guests being effortlessly taken on a journey and yes, I LOVE a party where everyone can really go wild, get creative and live something new or different. Burning Man has been a great liberator for people's creativity internationally and certainly that special vibe is always in the back of my mind if we ever do a themed party, as are the amazing fantatsical worlds created by photographer Tim Walker, and the incredible set designer Shona Heath.
8.) What is the most special piece of jewellery in your collection?
I am horrendously sentimental and so I do have a few pieces that are extremely important to me. My late father's signet ring which I wear whenever I need strength. A rose quartz Chaumet necklace that my husband brought me before we were married and which sits close to and helps open the heart chakra. My engagement ring and wedding ring for obvious reasons. A pair of diamond earrings I received as a gift on the birth of our daughter and of course, my Sophie Lis Fallen Star earrings which give me courage, guidance and inspiration.
Top as before by Roksanda, Fallen Star earrings by Sophie Lis
9.) What do you look for when buying jewellery for yourself and others?
I only buy jewellery for friends that has sentimental, spiritual or protective reasons. I have bought the Sophie Lis Fallen Star Earrings for a few friends who admired mine and were also looking for a little bit of guidance at the time.
10.) What is your favourite place in the world, click your fingers and be there?
In bed with my husband, daughter, the weekend papers and a big cup of tea.
Love of your life...
My Husband Sebastien, my hero and my rock.